Central State grad, long-time staff member picked as new president
The university introduced Kuti as president on Friday, Feb. 9.
He emphasized wanting Central State to play a larger role in addressing national health disparities.
“There's a significant difference between the health outcomes for the majority of the population and African Americans," he said. "So one of our roles as a university is to reduce that gap.”
He also wants the school to collaborate with the federal government in national security efforts.
“To make sure Central State plays a role in making the nation more safe and secure so we’re open to collaborate with the Department of Defense in future grant opportunities,” Kuti said.
In 1982, he earned a Bachelor's of science in finance from Central State. He later earned a Master's degree in business administration in finance from St. Thomas University, and a doctorate in public policy and administration from Walden University.
In 1992, Kuti joined the CSU staff, holding several leadership roles, including vice president for research and economic development and director of land grant programs.
Over the years, Kuti has secured more than $20 million dollars in public and private funds benefiting the university’s physical infrastructure, enabling faculty research and providing students with scholarships and experiential learning opportunities.
Recently, he secured U.S. Department of Agriculture approval for Central State to construct a $16 million, 40,000-square-foot research facility. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2024.
Kuti also challenged CSU students.
"The students are the reason for the university," he said. "They have to devote their time and energy to make sure they are successful. They must hold faculty and staff accountable to make sure we meet our obligations to them.”
Former Central State president Jack Thomas didn't renew his contract, stepping down from the administrative role to become a tenured professor when his contract expired last June.
His departure came amid allegations of bullying and belittling women in administrative positions who were later demoted.
Two sued the university, reportedly saying they were unfairly demoted and retaliated against.